Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.
— Psalm 105:1-4
Throughout this liturgical year, we have returned several times to Psalm 105, reading the first 6 verses and then a chunk from later in the Psalm. That isn’t unusual for our liturgical reading. We do that with a lot of the longer Psalms. One of the things that has jumped out to me over this season is the image of “God’s wonderful acts.” In so many ways, I tend to think about God’s wonderful acts in terms of creation: the beauty of a sunset, the wonder of a life, the grandeur of a mountain, etc. The Psalmist, and much of the Bible, thinks of God’s acts in history. The Psalmist recites the times that God has acted in our story:
God set up a binding law for Jacob, as an eternal covenant. v. 10
God didn’t let anyone oppress them. God punished kings for their sake; v. 14
He sent a man ahead of them, who was sold as a slave: it was Joseph. v.17
The king sent for Joseph and set him free; the ruler of many people released him. v. 20
God made his people very fruitful, more powerful than their enemies, v. 24
God sent Moses his servant and the one he chose, Aaron. v. 26
Then God brought Israel out, filled with silver and gold. v. 37
God opened the rock and out gushed water — flowing like a river through the desert! v. 41
God gave them the lands of other nations; they inherited the wealth of many peoples. v. 44
It is the events that show the wonderful acts of God, and remembering them is our act of praise.
I have often said that all hope is based in memory. Because we know that God has acted in the past, because we know that God has led us in the past, because we know that God has been gracious in the past, we can look forward with hope. We can see the world as it is knowing that the one who acted to save Israel, the one who sustained the Church, the one who has touched us is still God, even this dark time will not last forever. God is still God. Remembering is good for the soul.
O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
our shelter from the story blast
and our eternal home!
Under the shadow of thy throne,
still may we dwell secure;
sufficient is thine arm alone,
and our defense is sure.
Through all the ages, you O Lord, have guided your people. You have been our shelter, our fortress, our deliverer. Remind us of your faithfulness that we may hope for a future still secure. In your name we pray. Amen.
Pastor Tom Greener